, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 319-330
Date: 03 Oct 2009

Acceptance of Healthcare Robots for the Older Population: Review and Future Directions

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The rapidly ageing population is placing increasing strain on healthcare services. Robots have been proposed as a way to assist people to stay healthy and safe in their own homes. However, despite the need for such assistive devices and the success of some healthcare robots, other robots have had a poor response. This article reviews the literature about human responses to healthcare robots and summarises the variables that have been found to influence responses. It may be possible to increase acceptance of healthcare robots by properly assessing the needs of the human user and then matching the robot’s role, appearance and behaviour to these needs. Because robots have limitations in their abilities, another way to increase acceptance may be to modify the expectations of users to better match robots’ abilities. More research needs to investigate potential users’ needs and expectations in specific situations and whether interventions to increase the match between robot and human can increase acceptance.